Future Reflections Convention 1994, Vol. 13 No. 4
by Ramona Walhof
Reprinted from the August-September, 1994, Braille Monitor.
From the Editor: Ramona Walhof is the Secretary of the National Federation of the Blind and President of the NFB of Idaho. She also serves as the Chairman of the Resolutions Committee. Each year she presides over the receipt and handling of all resolutions until they are acted upon by the convention. This is what she has to say about the resolutions considered at the 1994 Convention of the National Federation of the Blind:
The National Federation of the Blind takes seriously resolutions proposed and resolutions passed by the convention. Any resolution passed by the convention constitutes a policy statement of the organization, and goals expressed in the resolutions become a part of our march toward independence and first-class citizenship for the blind.
Resolutions may be brought directly to the floor of the convention by the Board of Directors. But any member of the NFB may also present a resolution to the Resolutions Committee for its consideration. That person must then be present both when the resolution is debated by the Committee and when it is brought to the floor. Certainly the more common procedure is through the Resolutions Committee, which may not bottle up any resolution.
The Committee reads and considers all resolutions brought to it and takes them to the floor of the convention with the recommendation "do pass" or "do not pass." The Resolutions Committee does not rewrite resolutions; it merely discusses them, votes them up or down, and carries them to the floor of the convention. Generally speaking, the convention follows the recommendations of the Committee, but there have been exceptions to this pattern.
In 1993 we established a new policy that resolutions should be in the hands of the President or the committee chairman at least two weeks before the Committee meeting at the convention. This has made it possible (in the event that two resolutions on the same topic are presented) to work out differences and problems. It has also made it possible to check on questions of fact when they arise. In short, this change has improved the work of the Committee and the quality of the resolutions.
At this year's convention nineteen resolutions were presented, and eighteen were passed. One was withdrawn. As usual the full texts of all the resolutions passed in Detroit by the 1994 NFB Convention have been published in the Braille Monitor (the August/September, 1994, issue). Printed below is a brief description of each of the nineteen resolutions.
Editor's Note: The 1994 resolutions are available upon request. Contact the Materials Center, National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230; (410) 659-9314 (call between 12:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. EST).
Resolution 94-01 seeks appropriate certification of blind cane travel teachers by AER and calls upon RSA to review training programs for mobility teachers to see that they do not discriminate against the blind.
Resolution 94-02 seeks class-wide recognition of blind persons as socially disadvantaged when applying for loans and contracts through the Small Business Administration and commends Congressman John Lafalce and the other members of the House Small Business Committee and Congressman Jim Ramstad and the other ninety-three co-sponsors of the Americans with Disabilities Business Development Act for the work they have done to improve business opportunities for the blind.
Resolution 94-03 seeks to maintain a continuum of choices in the educational placement of blind children.
Resolution 94-04 calls upon RSA to adopt regulations which prohibit use of funds for support groups that are controlled by agencies serving the blind rather than organizations of the blind themselves.
Resolution 94-05 calls upon the Department of Veterans Affairs to support the Randolph-Sheppard Act and to issue permits for vending facilities according to its provisions.
Resolution 94-06 calls upon the American Council on Education and the GED Testing Service to change their policies so that blind persons may use readers when taking GED examinations.
Resolution 94-07 expresses the interest of the blind in the modernization of U.S. currency and expresses our determination to educate the public to the fact that blind persons can and do handle their own money, no matter how it looks or feels.
Resolution 94-08 was withdrawn.
Resolution 94-09 calls upon Congress to increase the appropriation to NLS to maintain and improve library services to the blind, including the replacement of old and worn-out cassette and disc players.
Resolution 94-10 seeks national legislation providing for independent living services for the blind separate from independent living councils for groups with other disabilities.
Resolution 94-11 calls upon guide dog schools to stress to students the importance of learning and always using effective methods of picking up after guide dogs.
Resolution 94-12 condemns the Department of Transportation's insistence that detectable warnings must be installed on subway platforms and commends the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for resisting this requirement.
Resolution 94-13 calls upon the Department of Education to disapprove grant applications from schools and agencies that discriminate against the blind when hiring cane travel instructors.
Resolution 94-14 calls upon Congress and the Department of Education to include Braille literacy requirements in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act amendments.
Resolution 94-15 calls on Congress to pass H.R. 3264 and S. 2161 to improve work incentives for SSI recipients.
Resolution 94-16 calls upon the Social Security Administration and Congress to move forward with the approval and implementation of re-engineering and streamlining a plan for the disability determination process.
Resolution 94-17 condemns sub-minimum wages in sheltered workshops and asks that NFB representatives be included when a new minimum wage proposal is developed.
Resolution 94-18 calls upon RSA and state rehabilitation agencies to adopt regulations that promote, not discourage, client choice in rehabilitation.
Resolution 94-19 opposes means testing for Social Security benefits paid to retirees and disabled persons.